• YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations

    Seminar Series

  • About the Series

    The YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations seminar series returns to the heart of YCAPS's original seminars: bringing quality conversations, world-class experts, networking, and career development to U.S. military base communities around Japan. Community Conversations holds regular in-person seminars about the history and significance of Misawa, Yokota, Yokosuka, Iwakuni, Sasebo, and Okinawa. This series is being implemented in full partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan.

  • Community Conversations Schedule

    Flyer for January 23 event in Misawa with an image of the US and Japanese flags

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Misawa In-Person)

    23 January 2023 – 17:30 (Japan)

    The Eisenhower administration was worried about Japan’s neutralism even during the 1950s. In addition, the powerful feelings of pacifism within Japan kept the Japanese military budget low. Such a policy was allowed to continue because the US was powerful, and it did not have to expect any military contribution by Japan. As a result, in 1978, Japan and the US crafted defense guidelines to defend Japanese territories but they barely discussed what to do with neighboring areas. Such times of contented acceptance of Japan’s passivity ended many decades ago and the US now expects Japan to share responsibilities, especially for regional security.

     

    This talk by Dr. Nakatsuji will explore and clarify the current state of Japan-US security collaboration and discuss the evolution of Japan’s security policy.

     

    For more information please see the event page.

     

    Flyer for the January 25 event in Yokosuka with an areal photo of a Chinese landing strip built on a reclaimed "island" in the South China Sea

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Yokosuka In-Person)

    25 January 2023 – 17:30 (Japan)

    How is China conducting cognitive domain operations and maritime gray zone operations? China has utilized non-military means such as psychological warfare and maritime paramilitary forces to achieve strategic and tactical goals. Most notably, the Xi regime has enhanced the use of such means through sweeping organizational reforms. Understanding these actions will provide a clearer view of the strategic challenges posed by China. Dr. Shinji Yamaguchi of the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) will lead us in a discussion on this important regional challenge.

     

    Optional registration for this seminar can be found here.

    Flyer for the January 31 event in Sasebo with a photo of the Senkaku Islands, a chain of small, undeveloped, mountainous islands

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Sasebo In-Person)

    31 January 2023 – 18:30 (Japan)

    The Japan-US alliance is facing a new challenge: China’s growing military presence in the maritime domain. China’s assertiveness challenges the current regional order and Japan’s territory—the Senkaku Islands. Examining the impacts of the Senkaku issue on the alliance, Dr. Hatakeyama of the University of Niigata will argue that the Senkaku islands are strategically important for the alliance but are also a source of conflict.

     

    Optional registration for this seminar can be found here.

    Flyer for the Feb 13 event in Okinawa

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Okinawa In-Person)

    13 February 2023 – 17:30 (Japan)

    Japan unveiled three new security documents in December 2022, including the nation’s first National Defense Strategy that defines Tokyo’s security policy for the coming decade. Observers have described the documents as transformational that marks a critical juncture in Japan’s foreign policy. The question, however, is how so?

     

    The seminar led by Takuya Matsuda will explore this question by unpacking the new documents to illustrate how they focus on enhancing the overall military effectiveness of the alliance by pursuing an integrated and resilient force structure between the two nations. Japan’s updated security policy, in fact, has broader implications on debates over the role of alliances in U.S. grand strategy. The presentation will also touch upon the implications drawn from the new strategy—especially the concept of “deterrence by resilience”—for Okinawa, including how it may relate to Washington’s decision to remove two squadrons of F-15C/D fighters at Kadena Air Base in October 2022.

     

    For more information please see the event page. Registration is mandatory and can be found here.

    Flyer for the Feb 22 event in Fussa

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Fussa In-Person)

    22 February 2023 – 18:30 (Japan)

    After the end of Cold War, Japan has slowly expanded its security cooperation with countries other than the United States. Over the years, MOD/SDF have seen the benefits of using their assets to advance its strategic objectives, and the recent National Security Strategy has stressed the needs to advance such engagements abroad. This lecture glances at the general trends and characteristics of Japan's defense diplomacy and looks closely at the recent National Security Strategy to understand the future orientations and issues of Japan's defense diplomacy.

     

    For more information please see the event page. Registration for the in-person event can be found here.

    Flyer for the Mar 25 Iwakuni Kaizoku event

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Iwakuni In-Person)

    25 February 2023 – 15:30 (Japan)

    Come join us for a presentation on the history of pirates in Japan, with a focus on the nearby Seto Inland Sea. The role and character of pirates differ across regions and eras through history. Although “kaizoku” is often translated to “pirates” in English, pirates and kaizoku are not the same. Like samurai and ninja, kaizoku have a uniquely Japanese history. Mr. KenTanaka will teach you about local Japanese history through kaizoku and spread the love of kaizoku around the world.

     

    For more information please see the event page. Registration for the in-person event can be found here.

  • Past Community Conversations

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Misawa In-Person)

    14 December 2022 – 17:30 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar series focused on the Misawa Community! This event will feature Satoshi Miyata(Director) and Robert Jefferson (Narrator) of the 2014 documentary film "Mount Hakkoda".

     

    In 1902, 210 soldiers of the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Imperial Army set out on a 12 mile winter march around Hakkodasan to Tashiro Hot Spring. This is not an arduous mountain route. It should have been an easy approach to the hot spring at Tashiro. However, at a mere altitude of around 2,000 feet, the 5th regiment met with a disaster that claimed the lives of 199 men. The location of this disaster is only 35 miles from Misawa. What happened in Hakkodasan? What was the real cause of this disaster?

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Iwakuni In-Person)

    10 December 2022 – 10:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar series in the Iwakuni Community! This event will feature Professor Yuichiro Shimizu who will lead us on a journey through the role of Choshu in the modernization of Japan.

     

    The Choshu-han has been said to have been the core power of the Meiji Revolution. So, what role did Choshu play in the nation-building process? Through discussing both prominent historical figures as well as major figures of the Meiji-born generation, Professor Shimizu will clarify the outsized role that Choshu has had in the development of modern Japan.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Yokosuka In-Person)

    5 December 2022 – 17:30 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar series in the Yokosuka Community! This event will feature Dr. Narushige Michishita.

     

    While North Korea continues to launch missiles and further its nuclear employment ambitions, South Korea is rapidly building its capabilities around the “Korean Massive Punishment and Retaliation” strategy. Who will prevail? What can the United States and Japan do to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula? Dr. Narushige Michishita of GRIPS will discuss the changing regional strategic equation and the role of the US-Japan Alliance within it.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Yokota In-Person)

    16 November 2022 – 18:30 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar series focused on the Yokota Community! This event will feature Mr. Taisuke Abiru, who will present on China-Russia relations in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022. We will also be joined by Dr. Stephen Nagy who will join us and give comments.

     

    Russia's national identity is that it must be a great power. Therefore, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is still unacceptable for Russia to become a junior partner of the United States. The same would be true for Russia's relations with China, which the United States now sees as its only global competitor. However, such relations between Russia and China have started changing dramatically in the wake of the Russo-Ukraine war that broke out this year

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Okinawa In-Person)

    16 November 2022 – 18:30 (Japan)

     

    The U.S.-Japan Alliance has been a keystone in building Japan's amphibious capabilities. Please Join us for our inaugural seminar in Okinawa looking forward towards further partnerships between the U.S. Marines and the Japanese Self Defense Force in amphibious capabilities. This event will feature General (ret.) Nozomu Yoshitomi. We will also be joined by Lieutenant General (ret.) Wallace "Chip" Gregson Jr. as a discussant who will add comments and views on the topic.

    The Life and Times of Heihachiro Togo

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (Sasebo In-Person)

    14 November 2022 – 18:30 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar series in Sasebo! This event will feature Mr. Hiroshige Togo, a JMSDF veteran and grandson of Admiral Heihachiro Togo who will present on the life and times of Admiral Heihachiro Togo.

     

    Mr. Togo will look at Admiral Togo's childhood education in Satsuma, the Admiral's experiences in the Boshin War, and give his family perspective on one of the most celebrated Japanese figures in modern history, painting a picture of what Japanese society was like from the end of the Edo period and into the Showa era.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    29 September 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    Hiroshima was a symbol of Imperial Japan in the early 20th century. After August 1945, Hiroshima became a symbol of ambiguity for US-Japan relations. After former President Obama’s visit and now the coming G-7 summit, Dr. Koji Murata will discuss how Hiroshima may be poised to become a symbol of rapprochement between the two countries.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    28 September 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar series focused on Misawa. This event event will feature General Sadamasa Oue. General Oue will draw upon his experience as a Commander of the Northern Air Defense Command at Misawa Airbase to talk about Misawa's role in the U.S.-Japan Alliance in the past as well as a view of the future.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    26 September 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    In the 20th century, Japan was known as a land of technological innovation with its electronic "gadgets" fascinating the world. However, there is a sense that it has lost its innovative edge in the modern era. Yet, Japan still possesses remarkable resources in terms of technological and scientific know-how. Anna Nagamine, Manager of Business Development Section, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) will describe Japan's national policies to promote innovation and the roles of sci-tech "hubs" such as OIST. A native Okinawan, she will also describe the specific challenges and opportunities the current era of innovation pose for her prefecture.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    7 September 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    Before the construction of the shipyards in the 1860s, Yokosuka was just a small village. However, after building, it became one of Japan's largest naval port cities, shaping Yokosuka's identity today. Dr. Inayoshi will explore Yokosuka's development process before WWII and how they utilized its heritage as a naval port after WWII.

     

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    27 July 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the continuation of the Community Conversations seminar series in Misawa. This event will feature Professor Narushige Michishita. Prof. Michishita will provide an overview of US-Japan combined air operations during the Cold War, and how that history relates to today’s competition with China.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    22 July 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the continuation of the Community Conversations seminar series in Yokosuka. This event will feature Mr. Bonji Ohara, senior fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and security expert studying the US-Japan Alliance and Japanese security policy. Mr. Ohara will discuss the history and significance of Yokosuka base to the US-Japan Alliance.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    14 July 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the return of the Community Conversations seminar series in Yokota. The inaugural event will feature Dr. Tomonori Yoshizaki. Dr. Yoshizaki will discuss how the war in Ukraine may impact US-Japan bilateral coordination including extended deterrence not only in Europe but also USFJ and the Indo-Pacific.

     

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    11 July 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the debut of the Community Conversations seminar series in Iwakuni. The inaugural event will feature CDR Mariyo Murakami. CDR Murakami (Leader of Flight Division 811,Air Electronic Warfare Squadron 8) will discuss the history and significance of JMSDF Iwakuni Air Base and give an overview of the contemporary role of the Air Base as part of the US- Japan alliance.

     

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    06 July 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the return of the Community Conversations seminar series in Sasebo. The inaugural event will feature Mr. Yasuhiro Kawakami. Mr. Kawakami (Rear Admiral Ret.) has served 32 years in the JMSDF, primarily in the Mine Warfare and Amphibious Warfare fields. He has also served five times as a commander and four times in Sasebo. He will discuss the history of Japanese Mine Warfare and the close cooperation between the Japan and U.S. Mine Warfare Forces after W.W.Ⅱ.

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversations Series (via Zoom)

    22 June 2022 – 19:00 (Japan)

     

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation are pleased to announce the return of the Community Conversations seminar series in Okinawa. The inaugural event will feature Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe. Mr. Watanabe has observed Japanese security policy and politics as a researcher in both US and Japanese thinktanks for decades. He will discuss the history of Japanese security policy and politics in the context of the US military facility in Okinawa.

  • Additional Events to Be Announced Soon!

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